Life drawing

Life drawing in conte charcoal watts atelier method


A series of quick sketches from the last life drawing session.
After the model kept insisting on the absolutely irrelevant poses (like the middle one, on the left) I decided it was time to (kindly) ask her to do something a little more dynamic, and she grabbed a chair. Next will be having a better lighting! Getting there little by little.


Portfolio Building Challenge – “Jack the Raptor”

This is a (very crappy) scene I came up with, for the Portfolio Building Challenge some students of the Watts Atelier have organized. Each month a different topic. This one was about a “Genre Mash-Up”, an illustration for a fictional book cover. I choose Detective and Dinosaurs as themes (if dinosaurs can even be called theme).
It was quite a struggle, as it’s the very first time for me to do anything this complex.

I started with a few thumbnails to put some ideas down on paper:

The first one was my favorite, I couldn’t really beat the original idea, so I carried it to a more complete stage in pencil:

And finally rendered the first image in gouache. Everything is from imagination, although I did use references to plan the composition and add believable elements. I used a couple of action figures for the detective and body poses, while I built myself a simple maquette to replicate the Velociraptor’s foot:

Portfolio Building may, velociraptor foot maquette
All in all what gave me more trouble was perspective, although I did not really dare venturing into color yet (I tried something digital but miserably failed), as that would have been a complete disaster.

p.s. Jack The Raptor is copyright Bob Green 😀


Watts Atelier’s Skill Building Challenge 23 – Head Quick Sketch


The most taxing challenge so far 😀 I had never tried. It was my first attempt at quicksketch, and I can ensure it really is as stressful as it seems! I burned out until the end, so I am glad the next phase will be on figure.
The above was a one hour quicksketch (one hour is still a fairly short time for a portrait). Follow two twenty minutes:

week2 (1)week2 (2)









Then four 10 minutes:
week3_1 week3_2_3 week3_4

And lastly eight (!) 5 minutes (!). These were by far the most challenging, I can barely find proportions in 5 minutes!

week4_2 week4_1



1 hour head quick sketch demo

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch


Poppe Totte kindly gave me the permission to publish his one hour quick sketch demo, where he shows his approach, thought process, and rendering method. For this demo he used a Conte 1710 charcoal pencil, and fairly smooth drawing paper (not smooth newsprint). Here follow his drawing and accompanying commentary

Step 1: simple block in and trying to find the planes. Think more Asaro than Reilly. I draw more with straight lines than trying to follow exact contour, time 15 minutes.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch lay-in


Step 2: Separate light from dark, I don’t do edgemarkings like Jeff but I define the shapes and try to find the largest forms. Notice how the darks are only half tones right now, time ca 15 minutes which is probably slow but I wanted to be accurate in order to impress you.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch middle valuePoppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch middle value


Step 3, go really dark on the darks, refine edges and shapes, also almost 15 mins which is really not that fast, but again, I went for accurateness.
I also didn’t start on the hair since it gets really easy to smear the whole drawing. Notice though that I sort of already have it in shapes and planes.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch middle valuePoppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch full dark value


Step 3.5. Thiis is where the magic happens, smear out the darks and build up the halftone. Go lighter on the light parts but dont leave any white spots. This stage is only 2-3 minutes.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch middle valuePoppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch halftones

Last step, final rendering, I refine some of the halftones, going lighter and darker where needed. I use a cut hard eraser for the highlights. Fingers or a stump where needed. Approx time 15-20 mins.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch


Japanese atmosphere

Japanese shrine atmosphere pencil sketch
I was walking up steps to a shrine near USA city in Japan, and came across this very nice…thing? Not sure what the name is but I thought it would have looked nice as vignette.
(It’s missing the last kanji, I drew them too big :D)